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Latest Valuentum Commentary
Feb 19, 2024
The Price-to-Earnings Ratio Demystified
Let's examine the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. The key takeaways are: 1) without using a discounted cash-flow model, the P/E ratio that should be applied to a company's future expected earnings stream can never be appropriately calculated, and by extension, 2) when investors assign an arbitrary price-to-earnings multiple to a company’s earnings (based on historical trends or industry peers or the market multiple), they are essentially making estimates for all of the drivers behind a discounted cash-flow model in one fell swoop (and sometimes hastily). As earnings for next year are often within sight and can be estimated with some confidence (though this certainly varies among firms), calculating the price-to-earnings ratio via a discounted cash-flow process, in our opinion, is of far greater importance than worrying about whether a firm will beat or miss earnings in its next fiscal year. Because the P/E ratio is a discounted cash-flow model that considers the long-term qualitative dynamics of a particular entity, cash-flow analysis remains the first and most important pillar of our Valuentum Buying Index. And finally, investors cannot ignore valuation analysis or the future. Valuation is an important driver behind stock prices, and it is based on future expectations that can only be estimated. This is just a fact of the markets.
Jan 15, 2024
Your Role as a Choice Architect
Image: Impact Hub Global Network. Richard Thaler in his groundbreaking book Nudge, co-written with Cass Sunstein, talked about the role of the choice architect. A choice architect is basically someone or some organization that has the responsibility for organizing the context and content in which people make decisions. At Valuentum, we can never provide personalized buy/sell advice, but in providing publishing services, we've opted for the healthy option for members, and that sometimes means you won't find a large selection of dessert options. This isn't a shortcoming of our service (i.e. we know desserts are tempting), but rather a key positive attribute. As we've shown time and time again, you don't need to look far to beat the market return (or, by comparison, to have a healthy diet). If something is not on the menu at Valuentum, it means the chef has something better cooking in the kitchen. Here's to your long-term financial health!
Dec 14, 2023
Brief Note: Just How Good Has Our Stock Selection Been?
Has anyone really done better than this? We hope you have benefited greatly!
Dec 13, 2023
Keeping the Horse Before the Cart: Valuentum’s Economic Castle™ Rating
Image shown: An examination of the problem that might arise by focusing exclusively on companies that have economic moats, or sustainable and durable competitive advantages.Without an economic castle, an economic moat doesn’t matter. Let's examine Valuentum's Economic Castle™ rating.
Nov 5, 2023
Business as Usual at Berkshire
Image: Berkshire Hathaway continues to be a strong free cash flow generator. Berkshire Hathaway reported third-quarter results on November 4 that were about in-line with what we were expecting. A huge cash balance and strong free cash flow are par for the course at Berkshire, and the company’s stake in Apple continues to power its equity securities portfolio. Year-to-date shares of Berkshire are up more than 13%, but we do admit that some of the luster has come off shares in light of the performance of asset-heavy names across the utilities and energy sectors. Given Berkshire’s strong run the past few years, we’re not as enamored with shares as we once were, but we still think they are worthy of inclusion to the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio.
Aug 6, 2023
Berkshire’s Stake in Apple Has Been a Boon for Shareholders
Image: Apple has been a blessing for Berkshire Hathaway. Image Source: Berkshire Hathaway’s second-quarter 2023 10-Q. Berkshire Hathaway fits the bill of the types of companies we’re looking for in this market environment. The company holds a nice cash position on the books, to the tune of ~$147.4 billion, while notes payable and other borrowings stood at ~$125.3 billion--good for a solid net cash position. Operating cash flow advanced to ~$21.1 billion through the first six months of the year (up from ~$15.4 billion from the same period last year), while purchases of property, plant, and equipment came in at ~$8.4 billion (up from ~$6.8 billion), good enough for free cash flow generation of ~$12.7 billion year-to-date in 2023 (up from ~$8.5 billion). Berkshire’s strong net cash position and impressive free cash flow generating profile are big reasons why we continue to like shares in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio.
May 8, 2023
Long Live Apple and Large Cap Growth!
Image: Since the release of the book Value Trap in December 2018, an ETF that tracks large cap growth (SCHG) has outperformed not only the S&P 500 (SPY), but also the areas of dividend growth (SDY) and small cap value (IWN) by sizable margins. In a world where monetary policy is tightening and regional banks are failing, we maintain our long-held view that big cap tech and large cap growth are the places to be. Since the release of the book Value Trap in December 2018, an ETF that tracks the area of large cap growth (SCHG) has not only outperformed the S&P 500 (SPY), but also the areas of dividend growth (SDY) and small cap value (IWN) by sizable margins. We love the net cash rich balance sheets and strong expected future free cash flow generators within the area of large cap growth, and Apple remains one of our very favorites that fits the mold. Apple is included in both the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio.
Mar 28, 2023
The Real Reason Why Moats Matter
Image Source: Ray in Manila. Let's sit down with President of Investment Research Brian Nelson for his take on economic moats, and why he still likes the areas of large cap growth and big cap tech.
Mar 14, 2023
Berkshire Hathaway’s 2022 Shareholder Letter Addresses Buybacks
Image: Berkshire Hathaway has held up fairly well following the market rout in 2022. Image Source: TradingView. Buffett’s shareholder letters are always a refreshing read, a reminder of just how important it is to practice good business principles and to view stocks as pieces of businesses and not pieces of paper.
Mar 14, 2023
Norfolk Southern’s Environmental and Safety Troubles Plague Stock
Image: Norfolk Southern’s environmental troubles have sent its stock back to pre-pandemic levels. The company is yet another example of why companies cannot take for granted how their operations can negatively impact the environment. Image Source: TradingView. Neglecting the environment and employee and consumer/resident safety is a sure way for companies to end up in hot water. Norfolk Southern is under special investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for a series of accidents during the past couple years, punctuated by the derailment and chemical spill occurring in East Palestine, Ohio, in early February. Though the firm’s costs associated with the high-profile train derailment may be capped at $75 million, its reputation may be irreparably harmed. Norfolk Southern is a prime example of why ESG investing has an important role in the marketplace, as the company simply dropped the ball when it came to ‘Environmental’ and ‘Social’ considerations within the ESG construct.
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The High Yield Dividend Newsletter, Best Ideas Newsletter, Dividend Growth Newsletter, Nelson Exclusive publication, and any reports, articles and content found on this website are for information purposes only and should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The sources of the data used on this website are believed by Valuentum to be reliable, but the data’s accuracy, completeness or interpretation cannot be guaranteed. Valuentum is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of its newsletters, reports, commentary, or publications and accepts no liability for how readers may choose to utilize the content. Valuentum is not a money manager, is not a registered investment advisor and does not offer brokerage or investment banking services. Valuentum, its employees, and affiliates may have long, short or derivative positions in the stock or stocks mentioned on this site.